This chapter begins by exploring notions of ‘race’ and ethnicity. It then provides some background on how particular groups have come to be defined as ‘ethnic minorities’ in Britain and what the official statistics on these groups say about the differences between them—with particular reference to known risk factors for offending. After outlining the history of these groups' relations with the police and public perceptions of their involvement in crime and disorder, it considers trends in the official statistics on ethnicity and offending. The chapter argues that criminologists must interpret crime statistics in the light of relevant criminological theories rather than giving primacy to explanations which treat the experiences of different ‘ethnic’ groups as if they were unique.
16. ‘Race’, ethnicity, and crime
9. Experiencing imprisonment
This chapter considers the experience of imprisonment for specific groups, namely women (including mothers), ethnic minorities, disabled prisoners, religious minorities, and gay, lesbian, and transgender prisoners. There is also more focus on the experience of foreign national prisoners and the growing number of olderprisoners. Policies that aim to reduce the risk of unfair treatment to these groups and their impact are reviewed, as is the framework of legislation designed to promote equality and human rights. The approach taken to race equality has now been extended to other groups. The framework of equality law is considered, including the Equality Act 2010 and its equality duty. The importance of gender-specific penal policies is also discussed.
10. Race, ethnicities, and the criminal justice system
This chapter explores the broader context and history of race-related issues in the UK, considering why racial disparities persist in diverse societies like the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK, before narrowing the focus to race and ethnicity in the sphere of crime and criminal justice. The concepts of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ have long played major roles in both classroom and broader societal discussions about crime, punishment, and justice, but they have arguably never been more present and visible than today. The chapter looks at the problems with the statistics available on race, ethnicity, and crime, noting the ways in which they may not tell the whole story, before considering the statistics themselves as the chapter discusses the relationships between ethnicity and victimisation and offending. It then moves on to how ethnic minorities experience the various elements of the criminal justice system and the disadvantages they often face, before outlining the attempts that have been made to address these disparities at a state level. Finally, the chapter discusses critical race theory, a key theory in modern criminological examinations of race and its relationship to crime and justice, which grew out of the US but has much broader value and relevance as a framework of analysis.
6. A fair cop? Policing and social justice
Benjamin Bowling, Robert Reiner, and James Sheptycki
This chapter examines fairness in policing with reference to issues of race and gender. It first defines the terms of debate—justice, fairness, discrimination—then considers individual, cultural, institutional, and structural theories and applies these to various aspects of policing. It considers the histories of police discrimination in relation to the policing of poverty, chattel slavery, racial segregation, colonialism, religious conflict, and ethnic minority communities, to understand their contemporary legacy. The chapter then examines spheres of police activity where allegations of unfairness and discrimination are particularly salient, including the response to women crime victims of rape and domestic violence, the use of ‘racial profiling’ in stop and search powers, and the use of deadly force. It examines the experiences of people from ethnic minorities, women, gay men, and lesbians within police forces. Through an exploration of the historical and contemporary literature, the chapter draws conclusions on whether or not the police act fairly in democratic societies.